Types of Aid and Eligibility

There are a variety of ways to help you pay for your college education. Click on the links to learn more about the different types of aid available.

Scholarships Grants Loans Summer Aid Work Study


Mount Wachusett Community College has over 40 scholarships for our students that can be applied for through Award Spring on iConnect.

The Community Foundation of North Central Massachusetts and MWCC are pleased to offer scholarships to support students seeking career-focused education programs and improved employment opportunities.

Receive a scholarship in a short-term academic program and return to the workforce quickly!

Many Mount Wachusett Community College students further their education for the purpose of reorienting themselves to a new or advanced career. Some academic programs have limited Federal and State financial aid eligibility, which can result in financial difficulty for students. The Career Focused Education Scholarship can assist with funding to encourage program completion and career eligibility.

Eligibility Criteria

Enrollment at MWCC in Advanced Manufacturing or Biotechnology Program (preferred); or enrollment at MWCC in a certificate program for career improvement

  • Financial need based on FAFSA
  • From the North Central Massachusetts Area
  • S. citizen or permanent resident
  • Completion of the MWCC Scholarship Application

Award Amount: Scholarship awards will not exceed 75% of the gap between a student’s cost of attendance and other financial aid and resources. All other financial aid, scholarships, and resources will be exhausted before application of the Career Focused Education Scholarship.

The College of the Atlantic, in Bar Harbor, ME, has a scholarship geared specifically for transferring community college students.

  • Value: $15,000/year
  • Criteria: Must be a graduate of a community college with a GPA of 3.0 or higher and a transferable Associate’s Degree
  • Application: Complete on COA’s website

NURSE Corps helps to build healthier communities in urban, rural, and frontier areas by supporting nurses and nursing students committed to working in communities with inadequate access to care. The NURSE Corps Loan Repayment and Scholarship Programs have helped critical shortage facilities meet their urgent need for nurses since 2002.

NURSE Corps Loan Repayment Program helps alleviate the shortage of nurses across the country by offering loan repayment assistance to registered nurses and advance practice nurses, such as nurse practitioners, working at Critical Shortage facilities and nurse faculty employed at accredited schools of nursing. Program participants receive up to 60% of their qualifying student loans in exchange for a two-year service commitment –plus an additional 25% of their original loan balance for an optional third year.

NURSE Corps Scholarship Program formerly the Nursing Scholarship Program, helps students complete their nursing education by paying tuition, fees, other education costs while providing a monthly living stipend. The program is open to full-time or part-time nursing students accepted or enrolled in diploma, associate, baccalaureate or graduate nursing programs at accredited schools located in the U.S. Upon graduation, scholarship program members fulfill a service commitment at a Critical Shortage Facility.

Supports post-secondary academic opportunities for low-income Massachusetts women.

Provides funds for payment of tuition bills, book fees, and other expenses related to academic pursuits.

Assists women receiving remedial academic support such as ESL training, GED preparation and remedial English/math courses and certificate training programs.

Visit the Lost Coin Womens Fund website to apply.

The Hope Scholarship ($1,500 maximum) is a federal tax credit program. Eligible students (half-time enrollment is required) will receive a 100% tax credit for the first $1,000 of tuition and required fees and a 50% credit on the second $1,000. This credit is available for the first two years of a college education. This credit is phased out for joint filers who have over $80,000 of adjusted gross income, and for single filers who have over $40,000 of adjusted gross income.

While the student must pay the cost of education, minus any financial aid and scholarship at the time of enrollment, the tax credit can be received for out-of-pocket expenses when the federal tax return is filed.

Lifetime Learning Credit -This tax credit is targeted to adults, and to students who have used all of their Hope Scholarship eligibility. A family can receive a 20% tax credit for up to $5,000 of tuition and required fees paid.

As with the Hope Scholarship, the availability of these tax credits is dependent upon federal tax laws. Parents and students with questions about these tax credits should consult the Internal Revenue Service forms and instructions.

At Happy Valley, we are dedicated to helping students achieve their full potential. As an organization that supports the local cannabis community and forward-thinking advocacy, Happy Valley is proud to accept applications from college students looking to educate and change perspectives on the expanding cannabis industry.

Each year the New England Transfer Association awards up to six $1,000 scholarships to local transfer students.

To Apply: Click Here
Note: A Google/Gmail account is needed to apply.

Scholarship applicants must complete all questions and upload:

  • Essay: How will your bachelor's degree assist you in reaching your career goals?
  • Unofficial Transcript


Federal Work-Study provides part-time jobs for undergraduate and graduate students with financial need, allowing them to earn money to help pay education expenses. The program encourages community service work and work related to the student’s course of study.

Federal Work-Study jobs help students earn money to pay for college or career school.

Here’s a quick overview of Federal Work-Study:

  • It provides part-time employment while you are enrolled in school.

  • It’s available to undergraduate, graduate, and professional students with financial need.

  • It’s available to full-time or part-time students.

  • It’s administered by schools participating in the Federal Work-Study Program.

The average award is $2,500 per academic year. Students earn $15 per hour and are paid every two weeks. Off-campus employment must be with a non-profit agency and arranged through the financial aid office.

Here is the link to the 2023-2024 Federal Work Study Application


Grants are sources of financial aid that do not generally have to be repaid. They can come from the government, school, private or non-profit organizations.

The Community College Nursing Scholarship program is designed to attract, incentivize, and encourage a diverse population of students to pursue a credential or degree in the nursing profession at a Massachusetts community college. The program provides “last dollar” financial assistance to ensure that all eligible students have adequate resources to cover the direct costs of tuition, fees and books towards a certificate or associate degree at a public community college. This scholarship program is intended to encourage more students to consider the nursing health profession as a career path and thus enroll in an approved nursing discipline that will provide the credentials to contribute to the Commonwealth’s healthcare workforce.  You can review the full program description on the State Financial Aid Programs website.  


Awards range from $200 to $7,395 per year and are awarded to low-income students. The amount of the award is determined by enrollment status (full- or part-time) and family contribution.

Pell grant recipients receive preference. The awards range from $100 to $2,000 per year.

The priority deadline for completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for MASSGrant program eligibility is July 1, 2024, for the 2024-25 academic year.

This is a state funded grant available to both full-time and part-time students who are residents of Massachusetts, have completed the FAFSA by November 1st, or January 1st for Spring starts. They must demonstrate financial need for tuition and fees after accounting for expected family contribution (EFC) and all forms of institutional and public grant aid. Eligible students must maintain enrollment in at least 6 credit hours (half time).  This grant is subject to return of funds calculation, should the student withdraw completely from the college.

This is a program to fund free community college for adults 25 and older who are do not already have a college degree. Eligible students must maintain enrollment in at least 6 credit hours (half time).  This grant is subject to return of funds calculation, should the student withdraw completely from the college.

The award amount cannot exceed the total cost of tuition and fees. Recipients must be Massachusetts residents for one year, maintain half-time enrollment status, and demonstrate need.

Awards cannot exceed state-supported tuition charges (Tuition-Day Charge). Recipients must be Massachusetts residents for one year, enroll in state-supported courses, maintain half-time enrollment status, and demonstrate need.

Transcripts may be requested by phone, online, by mail, or in person at the IRS Office in Fitchburg or Worcester (limited walk-in hours are available). Please make sure you request a Tax Transcript, our office cannot verify your financial aid award without one. Do not request a Tax Account Transcript or Record of Account because they may not always be used for financial aid verification purposes.

To obtain a tax return transcript online please follow these steps:

Online Request

  1. Visit Get Transcript on the IRS site.
  2. Select either the Get Transcript ONLINE button or the Get Transcript by MAIL button. Both options provide the same results, but the ONLINE option is immediate.
  3. Get Transcript ONLINE
  4. Click the Get Started button and complete the requested steps or sign in with existing credentials.
  5. On the Request Transcript page, select the “Higher Education/Student Aid” option and click on the Return Transcript for the tax year requested.
  6. Print the Tax Return Transcript and deliver it to the Financial Aid office.

Get Transcript by MAIL

  1. Enter the requested information and click Continue.
  2. Select “Return Transcript” for the Type of Transcript, select the tax year requested for Tax Year, and click Continue.
  3. If successfully validated, tax filers can expect to receive a paper IRS Tax Return Transcript at the address on file with the IRS within 5 to 10 business days. IRS Tax Return Transcripts cannot be sent to an address other than the one on file with the IRS.
  4. Once received, deliver the Tax Return Transcript to the Financial Aid office.

Telephone Request

  1. Call the IRS at 1-800-908-9946.
  2. Tax filers must follow prompts to enter the primary tax filer’s social security number and the numbers in their street address. Generally, this will be numbers of the street address that were listed on the latest tax return filed. However, if an address change has been completed either through the IRS or the US Postal Service, the IRS may have the updated address on file. For a joint tax return, use the primary tax filer’s social security number, date of birth, street address, and zip or postal code.
  3. Select “Option 2” to request an IRS Tax Return Transcript and then enter the tax year requested.
  4. If successfully validated, tax filers can expect to receive a paper IRS Tax Return Transcript at the address on file with the IRS within 5 to 10 business days. IRS Tax Return Transcripts cannot be sent to an address other than the one on file with the IRS.
  5. Once received, deliver the Tax Return Transcript to the Office of Financial Aid.

Loan Programs and Descriptions

Loans are a form of financial aid which needs to be repaid, they can be either federal loans or private student loans.

What is direct lending?

Direct lending is a loan process that is performed with the school you are attending and the US Department of Education (ED). You apply by completing a FAFSA, a Master Promissory Note and Entrance Counseling. Borrowers now will receive federal loan money directly from the US Department of Education.

What is the process to apply for a Loan?

The following steps are required to apply for a loan:

  1. Complete the FAFSA, at www.fafsa.gov
  2. Complete required entrance counseling at www.studentaid.gov
  3. Complete a required Master Promissory Note at www.studentaid.gov

Why do I have to complete a Master Promissory Note (MPN)

When you receive a Direct Loan for the first time you must complete a Master Promissory Note (MPN). The MPN is a legal document in which you promise to repay your loan and any accrued interest and fees to the Department of Education. It also explains the terms and conditions of your loan. In most cases, one MPN can be used for loans that you receive over several years of study. If you previously signed an MPN to receive a FFEL Program loan, you will need to sign a new MPN for a Direct Loan.

What is the interest rate?

Year Direct Subsidized Direct Unsubsidized
2024-2025 tbd tbd
2023-2024 5.50% 5.50%
2022-2023 4.99% 4.99%
2021-2022 3.73% 3.73%
2020-2021 2.75% 2.75%
2019-2020 4.53% 4.53%
2018-2019 5.05% 5.05%
2017-2018 4.45% 4.45%
2016-2017 3.76% 3.76%
2015-2016 4.29% 4.29%
2014-2015 4.66% 4.66%
2013-2014 3.86% 3.86%
2012-2013 3.40% 3.40%

Origination Fees:

The FY 23 sequester fees are the same as the FY 22 and FY 21 sequester fees. This means for all loans where the first disbursement is made on or after Oct. 1, 2020, and before Oct. 1, 2024 the loan fees are as follows:

1.057% for Direct Subsidized Loans and for Direct Unsubsidized Loans. As an example, the loan fee on a $5,500 loan would be $58.13.

4.228% for Direct PLUS Loans (for both parent borrowers and graduate and professional student borrowers). As an example, the loan fee on a $10,000 loan would be $422.80.

What if I have already had a Direct Loan? If I have already completed a Direct Loan Master Promissory Note for another school, do I have to complete another one for MWCC?

You will not have to complete a new Direct Loan MPN if the MPN you signed while attending another school is still active. You would need to contact the Student Applicant Service Center at 1-800-557-7394 to confirm that you have an active promissory note.

New: Parents who have applied for a PLUS loan in the past and were denied (making their child eligible for increased federal loan funds) MUST apply for a PLUS loan through www.studentaid.gov. Remember that parents of students will need their FSA Usernames and Passwords. This is the same username and password used when completing the FAFSA.

How can I figure out what my monthly payments will be?

The Direct Loans Program offers different loan repayment plans to meet the needs of almost every borrower. Click here to review the different plans available. Direct Loans has also provided a repayment calculator for borrowers. Click here to access the loan calculator.

How many credits must I be enrolled for to be eligible for a Direct Loan disbursement?

Students must be enrolled at least half-time (6 credits) at the time of disbursement.

Eligibility for subsidized Federal Direct Loans is based upon financial need as determined by the Department of Education, using information from the FAFSA. Interest on Subsidized Federal Direct Loans is paid by the federal government until students graduate, withdraw or drop below half-time enrollment. Unsubsidized Federal Direct Loans, are not based on financial need and the interest is not deferred while the student is in school. Repayment on Federal Direct Stafford Loans is deferred until students graduate, withdraw or enroll less than half-time. There is a loan origination fee on all Direct Subsidized Loans and Direct Unsubsidized Loans.

Time limitation on Direct Subsidized Loan eligibility for first-time borrowers on or after July 1, 2013

A first-time (new) borrower* on or after July 1, 2013 cannot receive subsidized loans for more than 150 percent of the published length of the borrower’s educational program. A borrower who becomes ineligible for subsidized loans because of the 150 percent limit is ineligible for interest subsidy benefits on all subsidized loans first disbursed to that borrower on or after July 1, 2013.

To learn more about this limitation, please click here.

*Generally, a first-time borrower is one who did not have an outstanding balance of principal or interest on a Direct Loan or on a FFEL Program Loan on July 1, 2013.

Federal Direct PLUS Loans allow parents of dependent undergraduate students to borrow up to the full cost of college less other student aid. A student must complete a FAFSA. There is no financial need requirement for the PLUS loan, but parents must pass a credit review in order to qualify for the loan. Repayment may be deferred for up to six months after the student is no longer enrolled at least half time (6 credits). However, interest does accrue on the loan and is capitalized into the loan principal before repayment begins. The interest rate on loans first disbursed on or after July 1, 2022 and before July 1, 2023 is fixed at 7.54%. Federal Direct PLUS Loans also have a loan origination fee charged (4.228%).

MWCC recommends that you use all grant, scholarship and federal loan options prior to applying for a private student loan. Remember there are many differences between lenders and the terms and conditions of their loans. Research your options and compare lenders before making a final selection.

Dependent students-maximum loan amounts per academic year

The following chart provides maximum annual and aggregate (total) loan limits for Subsidized and Unsubsidized Direct Loans

Year Subsidized Unsubsidized Total Eligibility
Year 1 (less than 30 credits earned) $3,500 $2,000 $5,500
Year 2 (30 of more credit hours earned) $4,500 $2,000 $6,500

The aggregate amount for a dependent student (except students whose parents are unable to obtain PLUS loans) is $31,000 for Stafford loans (Maximum $23,000 subsidized)

Independent students-maximum loan amounts per academic year.

The following chart provides maximum annual and aggregate (total) loan limits for subsidized and Unsubsidized Direct Loans.

Year Subsidized Unsubsidized Total Eligibility
Year 1 (less than 30 credits earned) $3,500 $6,000 $9,500
Year 2 (30 of more credit hours earned) $4,500 $6,000 $10,500

The aggregate amount for an independent student (except students whose parents are unable to obtain PLUS loans) is $57,500 for Stafford loans (Maximum $23,000 subsidized)

*Students registered in certain Certificate Programs will remain Year 1 students throughout their enrollment.

Note: These annual loan limit amounts are the maximum yearly amounts you can borrow in both subsidized and unsubsidized loans. You can have one type of loan or a combination of both. Because you can’t borrow more than your cost of attendance minus any other financial aid you’ll get, you may receive less than the annual maximum amounts. Also, the annual loan limits assume that your program of study is at least a full academic year.

The maximum annual and total loan limits include any Stafford Loans you may have received under the FFEL Program.

Summer Financial Aid

Upon registration for the summer semester, students who have already completed a 2023-2024 FAFSA will have their grant eligibility determined by the Student Financial Services office. The amount of eligibility will be based upon the amount of unmet need and the remaining amount of unused Pell Grant from the Fall 2023 and Spring 2024 semesters.

In order to qualify for summer 2024 financial aid students must meet the following:

  • Have a completed 2023-2024 financial aid file.  It is also recommended to complete your 2024-2025 FAFSA.
  • Be enrolled in a degree or certificate program.
  • Be enrolled in at least 6 credits for most financial aid programs (Pell may be an exception based on your EFC. Some students are eligible for Pell at less than 1/2 time enrollment.)
  • Be maintaining Satisfactory Academic Progress at the end of the Spring 2024 semester.

Registration for summer courses begins in February. The Student Financial Services office recommends that you register for both sessions  (Summer I and Summer II) at the same time in order to ensure an accurate financial aid award.

If you are enrolled in at least 6 credits for the summer, you are eligible to borrow loan funds, if you haven't reached your limit for the year. In order to be awarded loans over the summer, you must complete a loan request form.

Summer Financial Aid is limited based on your level of financial aid used during the Fall and Spring semesters.  If you have questions, please email our office at sfs@mwcc.mass.edu.

Pell Eligibility

Due to the availability of the Year-Round Pell grant, students enrolled full-time for both Fall 2023 and Spring 2024 (12 or more credits each term) may now qualify for summer Pell. To receive funding, these students must enroll half-time (6 credits)  in the Summer term. Students registered for fewer credits than full time for either fall, spring or both terms may have some remaining eligibility for Summer. These part-time students may receive Pell grant funding for less than half-time enrollment (one-course registration). Pell grant eligibility for Summer will be posted on WebConnect after registration.

Federal Direct Student Loans

Direct loans are available based on dependency status and grade level. Students must be enrolled at least half time (6 credits). Students who have already borrowed the maximum loan amounts for the Fall and Spring semesters will not have any remaining loan eligibility for the summer term.

Summer Work Study

The College will have limited funding and limited positions available for Work-Study during Summer 2024.

College Assistance Grants/Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants

A limited amount of funding is available for Summer in the CAG and SEOG programs. The Student Financial Services office will prioritize this funding for students who register early and demonstrate high need.

Bookstore Credits

For students whose authorized aid exceeds tuition and fee charges, bookstore authorizations will be made available. This information is viewable within iConnect.